Why folks weren't feeling the 2016 Ghostbusters...
Published March 8 2016 - Updated April 6 2018
I was born in 1983. One year before the original Ghostbusters made its debut in 1984. I am an 80's baby and one of the movies and franchises I most fondly remember growing up was Ghostbusters. I remember it mainly because it was one of the few movies that correctly balanced humor with horror and made a totally unlikely concept work. Its an uncommon thing to have a film that kids can watch and enjoy and then 30+ years later still get the same experience. I grew up watching the adventures of Peter, Stan, Winston and Egon in the cinema and on the "Real Ghostbusters" cartoon throughout the 80s. Like most people I remember seeing Ghostbusters 2 and thought it wasn't as good as the first film but there were clearly more stories to tell in this world.
As the years went by and the cast got older it appeared that we were getting further and further away from Ghostbusters 3. Dan Aykroyd was still keeping hope alive whenever he was asked. Bill Murray reportedly didn't want to make the movie at all stating in Variety magazine that he felt like a third Ghostbusters movie would be a cashgrab without clear direction.
In 2009 We finally got Ghostbusters 3, albeit unexpectedly. The link below, are all of the cutscenes for the 2009 Ghostbusters game. If you missed it enjoy, beware this is a bulk of the story and will spoil the games narrative.
Released on most gaming devices Ghostbusters: The videogame was essentially Ghostbusters 3. The actors reprised their roles, including Bill Murray. The game continued the Story of Zuul from the first movie, and starred you as a unnamed rookie. The game had decent graphics, a great story and the humor and tone felt like Ghostbusters through and through. One of the themes of the game was the passing of the torch. There is an Idea presented in the game that the Ghostbusters were thinking bigger than their fire house and would possibly franchise out to other locations outside of New York. This would have been a perfect jumping on point for a new 2016 Ghostbusters movie.
When the rumblings about a new film made its rounds I was stoked and excited that one of my favorites would be returning to the big screen. Most of the actors were alive. I was sure Dan, Ernie and Bill would possibly be appearing at least in cameo or maybe the video-game would be the jumping on point for the new movie. It seemed like the obvious route. Homaging the past while moving the series forward.
The announcement came that the Studio was looking for an all female cast and were making a female-centric movie. I didn't have an issue with the idea of a female lead or a female team but when a studio puts forth directorial mandates ahead of a story its almost never a good sign when it comes to old franchises. Its the reason we almost got Alien Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a few years ago. The decision seemed to come out of a boardroom that was completely disconnected from the target audience. Most people forget that we have seen female ghostbusters before in the animated series. Its nothing new for the franchise and sexism seems to be the fallback argument when people vocalized skepticism about the Idea of an "All female cast". I personally believe that a blended cast of men and women would have been the perfect way to go in 2016. Women are just as capable as men. We work together in the real world so why would you intentionally alienate/limit your audience by making sex and gender the central focus?
No one watched the original Ghostbusters movie because it was a "Male Power Fantasy". It was a power fantasy but it wasn't marketed as such. It was marketed as a Horror/Comedy starring the some of the funniest established comedians of the time. The new movie was sold as a new take on an old franchise but with Gloriously Funny Women this time for...reasons.
I clicked the link to the trailer because despite all of the bad vibes coming from the studios I am still a fan of the franchise even now as I update this post for 2018. The detractors could have all been wrong but the trailer felt exactly like what I expected it to be, generic, and tone deaf like most reboots with studio mandates. The trailer was pretty and colorful. It doesn't feel scary at all which was part of the charm of the originals. The movie tried to hard to nail its jokes and after a minute tuned me out. We already knew the movie was a comedy, its Ghostbusters we don't need a joke every 2 seconds to belabor the point. I was pretty disappointed to say the least.
Based on what I've seen this seems like a train-wreck waiting the happen. The studio should have just started a new franchise in a similar vein or put soft ties to the original franchise. This movie kinda looks like Ghostbusters but it doesn't feel like it and if you're banking on nostalgia and new emerging fans. Ghostbusters was not the right direction.
I'm pretty sure we'll see an updated take on the Ghostbusters franchise at some point in the future that will capture the magic of the original or at least be competent. There are too many examples of successful uses of the Ghostbusters IP. Whether its the "Real Ghostbusters" cartoon, the toy line the video-game and just the pervasiveness of the brand in popular culture. Whenever the Ghostbusters reappear, Ill be in the cinema with bell's on.